Twenty-three year old Denis Kudla will become JTCC’s first Olympian when he represents Team USA against Andrej Martin from Slovakia in men’s singles at the Barra de Tijuca Olympics Tennis Center in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Saturday.
“Denis started at JTCC at aged seven, and has always had a burning desire to represent his country,” said Vesa Ponkka, Senior Director of Tennis at JTCC. “This is a major achievement to be selected for Rio, and we all wish him the best of luck.”
The Arlington, VA native was selected for Team USA after reaching his career high ATP ranking of #53 in May and hopes to find the form that propelled him to the round of 16 at Wimbledon in 2015, where he was the last American male player standing.
Kudla’s opening clash with Martin will be the first time the two have met. The Slovakian is currently #111 in the ATP rankings and received a spot in the draw courtesy of one of the six International Tennis Federation (ITF) places reserved for countries without any automatic Olympic qualifiers.
Kudla is residing in the Athletes’ Village and will join his American teammates in the Olympic stadium for the Opening Ceremony of XXXI Games on Friday.
“The opportunity to compete for a gold medal is something Denis will treasure for the rest of his life, and nobody deserves it more,” said JTCC CEO Ray Benton. “He embodies what our programming is all about, and despite his busy ATP schedule still consistently finds the time to help out our current players.”